When a Jesuit Counsels Others
Some Practical Guidelines
Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
PIRITUALITY OF JESUITS
32/3 • MAY 2000
THE SEMINAR ON JESUIT SPIRITUALITY
The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in
the United States.
It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and prac-
tice of Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the
members of the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF
JESUITS. This is done in the spirit of Vatican IFs recommendation that religious
institutes recapture the original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the
circumstances of modern times. The Seminar welcomes reactions or comments in
regard to the material that it publishes.
The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the Jesuits
of the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits of other
regions, to other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. Hence, the
journal, while meant especially for American Jesuits, is not exclusively for them.
Others who may find it helpful are cordially welcome to make use of it.
CURRENT MEMBERS OF THE SEMINAR
William A. Barry, S.J., directs the tertianship program and is a writer at Cam-
pion Renewal Center, Weston, MA (1999).
Richard A. Blake, S.J., teaches film studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill,
Philip J. Chmielewski, S.J., teaches religious social ethics at Loyola University,
Chicago, IL (1998).
Richard J. Clifford, S.J., teaches Old Testament at Weston Jesuit School of
Theology, Cambridge, MA (1997).
Gerald M. Fagin, S.J., teaches theology in the Institute for Ministry at Loyola
University, New Orleans, LA (1997).
Richard J. Hauser, S.J., teaches theology and directs the graduate programs in
theology, ministry, and spirituality at Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Thomas M. Lucas, S.J., chairs the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and
teaches therein at the University of San Francisco, CA (1998).
John M. McManamon, S.J., teaches history at Loyola-Marymount University,
Los Angeles, CA (1999).
Edward T. Oakes, S.J., teaches theology at Regis University, Denver, CO
John W. Pa.dberg, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar, editor of STUDIES, and direc-
tor and editor at the Institute of Jesuit Sources (1986).
Timothy E. Toohig, S.J., a high-energy physicist, does research and administra-
tion in Washington and lives at Georgetown University, DC (1997).
The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. Parenthe-
ses designate year of entry as a Seminar member.
Copyright © 2000 and published by the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality
3601 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
(Tel. 314-977-7257; Fax 314-977-7263)
When a Jesuit Counsels Others
Some Practical Guidelines
Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS
32/3 • MAY 2000
Marian Cowan, C.S.J., and
John Carroll Futrell, S.J.
Roberto de Nobili, S.J.
Companions in Grace
A Handbook for Directors of the Spiritual
Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
A guide and companion for those who direct others in
making the Spiritual Exercises. A new edition of a 1980
classic, by two outstanding experts in the field. Each of
the four Weeks of the Exercises is treated in detail, and
the book includes sections on Ignatius's rule for dis-
cernment, directing an eight-day retreat, the
J nineteenth-annotation retreat, annotation eighteen, and
I Paper ISBN 1-880810-38-7
| pp. vii + 249: $18.95 I
(Trans. Anand Amaladass, S.J., and Francis X. Clooney, S.J.)
Preaching Wisdom to the Wise
Three Treatises by Roberto de Nobili, S.J.
How should the Christian faith be communicated to a
non-European culture? Roberto de Nobili was one of
the earliest Jesuit missionaries to address this question.
This book gives three of de Nobili's treatises, classic
early examples of a move toward what would now be
called "inculturation," as well as an introduction by the
translators that both critiques de Nobili's approach and
|j appreciates his greatness.
Paper ISBN 1-880810-37-9
| pp. xxii + 345: $29.95
| Both books will be available in May 2000.
Of all things . . .
"Oh, you Jesuits are all intellectuals!" Once in a while a Jesuit may hear
this comment, intended perhaps as praise or as blame. However true or false the
statement may be, it does raise a question for the hearer: "What is an intellectual?"
Don't worry, the following paragraphs are not going to be a philosophical disquisi-
tion; they consist, rather, of a quotation and a brief comment.
Some months ago the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural
Affairs met at Holy Cross College. While addressing that meeting, Sr. Jeanne Knoer-
le, S.P., a member of the staff of the Lilly Endowment, had this to say:
The primary role of intellectuals is not to know everything. Not to explain
everything. Not to answer all the questions. Not even to present careful
arguments— though that surely is an important role. The primary role of
intellectuals is, out of all they have seen and understood and questioned, to
articulate the questions that will organize and break open the conversation. In
the life of the mind, answers are never as important as questions, since
questions order how the subject will be examined. And explanations are
never as important as questions, since questions force the reader, not the
writer, to answer them. The purpose of the intellectual life is not to answer
questions, it is to generate insight in others (to open their eyes, so to
speak), to expand everyone's horizon so that the eye of the mind of all
participants is opened and truth, given all the resources available, can be
uncovered in whatever way possible.
In this sense, maybe all of us Jesuits, no matter what our academic training
may be, or our past or present experiences and activities, are intellectuals. At least I
Something old and something new. About forty years ago the novel A
Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. appeared and garnered great acclaim.
Some called it science fiction, others a Christian parable for an age distraught by
looming nuclear war. I read the book then and reread it just last month. My conclu-
sion was that it had lost none of its power. In its first part, entitled "Fiat Lux," a
congregation of monks in the southwest of the United States, six hundred years after
the nuclear war of the twentieth century, tries to preserve the remnants of learning
that survived both the war and the "Great Simplification" that followed, in which
most of humankind banded together to destroy every vestige of learning and every
learned or even literate man or woman, convinced that it was the learned and their
works that had brought on the nuclear destruction. For hundreds of years the monks
tried to preserve the "Memorabilia" in their abbey and to reconstruct the world from
items found or retrieved, such as scraps of books, pieces of transistors, a fragment of
a circuit-board blueprint — all in the name of St. Leibowitz, an engineer who, some
time ago, during what might be called the Dark Ages, had died a martyr while trying
to preserve these vestiges of a higher culture. In the second part of the book, entitled
"Fiat Homo," half a millennium later, the world had been in part reborn to what
resembled a modern version of the Middle Ages. Feudal realms, such as the Empire
of Denver and the City-State of Texarkana, and their rulers vie with each other for
power. In the meantime, scholars slowly and painstakingly rediscover ancient texts,
and then an enterprising monk at the abbey builds the first crude machinery to
produce electric light for the first time in a thousand years. The abbey is caught up
in the military rivalries and is almost destroyed. Fast forward another five hundred
years to "Fiat Voluntas Tua," and the world has again scaled to the heights of civili-
zation that the twentieth century had earlier attained. An even more devastating
nuclear world war was again imminent; the Church was ready to send a starship of
colonists to Alpha Centauri, led by monks of the abbey of St. Leibowitz. Again, a
nuclear war breaks out and the cycle of mindless destruction begins anew.
As I reread the above paragraph, I realized how arid it was in comparison
with the richness of characters, plot, action, spiritual depth, reflection, and even
humor in the novel itself. Take up the book and read. It is gripping.
As for something new, just published in this year 2000 by a Spanish Jesuit,
Javier Melloni, is a small book of fifty pages or so, The Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola
in the Western Tradition, trans. Michael Ivens, S.J. (Leominster, U.K.: Gracewing
Press). As the author, presently stationed at Manresa in Spain, says in his introduc-
tion, "[T]he aim of the [book] is ... to present [the Exercises] not as an isolated
phenomenon, the fruit of personal experience alone, but as resulting also from
contact with the preceding spiritual tradition." The standpoint of the book is not
historiographical but interpretative. Its
concern is not to establish the literary genesis of the text, but to consider
the sources as foundational layers in the Exercises themselves. Seeing the
Exercises in this way we can better understand both their common — or
inherited— character and their specific or original character, the light coming
from knowledge of the sources enabling us to situate the Exercises within
the great tradition of the West, and at the same time to identify the specific
features which constitute Ignatius' own contribution to that tradition.
The several chapters deal with (1) Ignatius's direct contact with the tradi-
tion, (2) the Spiritual School of Fray Garcia de Cisneros, (3) features inherited from
the tradition, and (4) the specificity of the Ignatian Exercises. The reader will meet
some familiar figures, such as Denys the Areopagite and St. Bonaventure and, of
course, Garcia de Cisneros, but also some people whom, I suspect, he may never
have heard of before, such as Hugh of Balma, Hendrik Herp, and John Mombaer.
They and others appear in an ingenious two-page "Genealogical Tree of the Exer-
cises." In a few pages, the book demonstrates how tradition vivifies a work that
nonetheless goes beyond the tradition, and in so doing becomes itself a life-giving
part of the further development of that tradition. This book, too, is well worth the
John W. Padberg, SJ.
Setting the Scene l
esuit Counsel and the Need for Guidelines 2
esuit Spirituality and Our Counsel 5
Practicing Jesuit Counsel: Spiritual Direction,
Pastoral Counseling, and Therapy 8
Some Practical Issues regarding Jesuit Counsel 17
A. Setting Boundaries 17
B. Confidentiality 23
C. Making Referrals 27
D. Transference 32
When a Jesuit Counsels Others
Some Practical Guidelines
Setting the Scene
uestion: What is the most frequently performed ministry of Jesuits?
a. planning or presiding at liturgical services
d. reading issues of STUDIES
e. none of the above
If you chose d, you earned the gratitude of the current Assistancy
Seminar members. Unfortunately, you also chose incorrectly! In all likeli-
hood, the correct answer is e. The apostolic enterprise Jesuits most fre-
quently undertake is, simply, conversation (hereafter within these pages
referred to as "counsel"). Consider the following scenarios on any typical
day in the lives of Jesuits in the United States Assistancy.
1. At a Jesuit secondary school located on the East Coast, Bob Wat-
son, a high-school junior, stops by a regent's classroom after school to chat.
His parents' recent divorce leads Bob to seek a caring, sympathetic ear.
Charles M. Shelton, S.J., is associate professor of psychology at Regis University
in Denver and a licensed psychologist in private practice. He has written a number of
books and numerous articles and reviews on such topics as moral development, pastoral
psychology, adolescent and adult mental health, and pastoral counseling; he also serves as a
consultant to several religious organizations. In the summer of 2000, Crossroad/Herder &
Herder will publish his latest book, "Achieving Moral Health. " His address is Regis Jesuit
Community, 3333 Regis Blvd., Denver, CO. 80221; his e-mail address is <cshelton
2 4* Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
2. On the West Coast, at the midpoint of a week-long retreat, Sally
Hendricks reveals to her Jesuit retreat director her struggle to reconcile
God's love with her poor self-image.
3. At a Midwestern Jesuit university, in the midst of conversation
regarding departmental matters, a lay professor interrupts his Jesuit colleague
and inquires whether before they conclude their meeting the Jesuit might
reflect with him about a troubling family situation that occurred over the
4. Going south, at the very moment that the Jesuit professor above
listens attentively to his colleague, a Jesuit pastor reflects with a staff mem-
ber on ways she might enhance her communication with the leaders of
several parish-sponsored ministries.
What unites these four situations? All contain instances where
conversation with a Jesuit promotes another's emotional and spiritual well-
being. Exercising this role is not only a vital resource Jesuits offer the People
of God; it also constitutes a major apostolic enterprise of American Jesuits.
Jesuit Counsel and the Need for Guidelines
In light of the above and as a foundation for the discussion that follows,
I offer this definition of Jesuit counsel. In a generic sense, yet specific for
this article's purpose, Jesuit counsel refers to a focused conversation
between a Jesuit and another person in which the Jesuit listens and when
appropriate offers constructive comments, reflections, advice, or feedback
whose primary purpose is to promote either another's spiritual well-
being, his or her emotional functioning, or both. 1 This definition is broad
enough to incorporate the major mainstream, conversationally based minis-
tries of Jesuits— spiritual direction and pastoral counseling— yet narrow
enough to exclude other ministerial relationships, such as teaching or
Several aspects of this work require that we think seriously and
reflectively about the counsel we give. For one, a human being's capacity to
I offer this definition of "Jesuit counsel" fully aware that experts have reached
no consensus on the meaning of terms such as "spiritual direction," "pastoral counseling,"
or "counseling." Needless to say, one might rather easily find some examples that don't
quite fit the definition suggested. Even so, "counsel" as defined herein casts a net wide
enough to include the majority of conversationally based pastoral situations confronting
When a Jesuit Counsels Others *k 3
adapt is one of humanity's greatest strengths. Yet this same adaptability leads
people to acquire habitual or set ways of doing things. Over time, a style of
behavior or course of action can become so commonplace that we fail to
give it much scrutiny. When this tendency to proceed according to a habit-
ual pattern is applied to our counseling, even with the best of intentions we
can rather easily slide into a self-complacent mode and become less self-
observant than we might otherwise be. Accordingly, over the years many of
us might have grown so accustomed to a certain counseling style that we
probably haven't taken the time to reassess or think critically about the
counsel we provide. Yet because our counsel is so integral to the Jesuit ideal
of aiding souls in companionship, we would be wise to spend some time
seriously examining it.
A second reason to examine our counsel stems from the growing
awareness among mental-health researchers that a major proportion of
Americans suffer a mental disorder at some point in their lifetimes. 2 Thus, I
think it safe to say that on average (but of course with many individual
exceptions) the "typical" student, adult, colleague, directee, or counselee
applying to a Jesuit for counsel is more likely to be unsure, confused,
troubled, stressed, or impaired than his or her counterpart a quarter century
ago. It is important, therefore, that a Jesuit's counsel remain informed,
appropriate, and professional.
In addition, as a domain of knowledge, psychology captures the
fancy and imagination of many Americans. Browsing through any book-
store, one is struck by the shelf space allotted to books promoting psycho-
logical themes, such as determining healthy/dysfunctional relationships,
advocating recovery/self-help issues, and fostering personal growth. Given
our psychologically minded culture, it stands to reason that many who seek
our counsel entertain preconceived notions of how Jesuits should conduct
themselves in pastoral situations, or have specific expectations of what
should take place during a conference or meeting with a Jesuit. Like others
occupying ministerial roles within the Church community, Jesuits are rightly
expected to follow professional standards, to possess sufficient self-knowl-
edge, to employ an adequate level of psychological sophistication when
ministering to others, and to be held accountable for their actions.
Finally, over the past several years a number of cases involving
inappropriate behavior of priests and religious have drawn wide media
2 Darrel A. Regier, William E. Narrow, Donald S. Rae, Ronald W.
Manderscheid, Ben Z. Locke, and Frederick K. Goodwin, "The de Facto US Mental and
Addictive Disorders Service System," Archives of General Psychiatry 50 (February 1993):
4 4* Charles M. Shelton, S J.
coverage. These cases typically involve some type of boundary violation
with respect to the vow of chastity. In some instances these behaviors
include criminal wrongdoing of a sexual nature (for example, sexual abuse of
a child or adolescent, child pornography). At other times they involve taking
advantage of someone who is vulnerable (for instance, getting sexually
involved with an adult counselee). As General Congregation 34 notes,
Everyone should be aware that any failure in living faithfully the vow of
chastity or any ambiguous relationships can afflict others cruelly, both
spiritually and psychologically. Besides the issue of serious sin, such behav-
ior can compromise the credibility of the Society within a culture that is
skeptical about any fidelity in chastity and seriously injure its apostolic
As a minimal goal, offering reflections and guidelines on our coun-
seling will enhance awareness of these issues and, we may hope, help to
minimize or curtail such pernicious behaviors. The four reasons discussed
above might all be subsumed under the theme of consciousness raising — on an
individual and a corporate level — in a way that allows us to think seriously
and critically about the counsel we provide. Jesuits are rightfully proud that
they are traditionally regarded as men of "good counsel." Accordingly, in the
pages that follow, we offer sets of questions for reflection whose goal is to
enhance self-examination and to foster personal insight aimed at nourishing
and sustaining the "good counsel" we provide.
Moreover, the themes addressed in the pages ahead reflect "serious"
issues, because we are dealing both with other people's lives and with God's
working through them. So if I err, I prefer to err by stressing our need for
ongoing awareness, critical reflection, and recognition of our limitations. On
a positive note, I am encouraged that today so much effort is devoted to
helping our men in formation become effective pastoral ministers. In addi-
tion, I find heartening and uplifting the enormous goodwill of the corporate
Society, and the good intentions and selfless desires of the many Jesuits who
so effectively serve both the Church and society at large. Nothing in these
pages is intended to demean this overwhelmingly positive contribution.
Nonetheless, because we are dealing with people's lives and because we are
all human, it seems reasonable to address issues and concerns directly and
honestly when they can reflect on both the Society's and the individual
3 Decree 8, "Chastity in the Society of Jesus," in Documents of the Thirty-Fourth
General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (Saint Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1995),
no. 258 (p. 124).
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 5
Jesuit Spirituality and Our Counsel
Because many seek our counsel and our conversations with them
occupy a considerable portion of our time and energy, it is important
to reflect upon the counsel we give. A positive way to begin such
reflection is by exploring how we might relate spirituality to our counsel.
More specifically, our own spiritual tradition provides a helpful springboard
for initiating this discussion. Taking this spirituality into account, we might
pose a question like this: What aspects of Jesuit spirituality do I draw
upon to nourish and support my role as a Jesuit who counsels others?
A linkage between our spirituality and our counsel offers several
advantages. For one, we are not just men who counsel but Jesuits who
counsel. Thus, intertwining our spirituality and our counsel, ideally, calls us
to reflect consciously on our (deepest) desires, one of which is working
together as companions to promote our common mission to serve the
People of God. Naturally, fidelity to this desire calls us to continually
evaluate the quality of our counsel in terms of intentions and actual practice.
To illustrate, we might ask ourselves: Does our counsel reflect living our
vowed lives with integrity? Would someone who observed our counsel agree
that our words and actions harmonize with the ideals inspiring and guiding
In addition, on a very practical level, linking our Jesuit spirituality
with our counsel will reassure us in the unlikely event that some legal
complaint should be brought against us or if public attention should be
drawn to our counsel or pastoral efforts (always assuming that no real
boundary violation has occurred). Our ability to articulate the spiritual
underpinnings and motivations for the counsel we offer not only demon-
strates our commitment to sound pastoral practice but also assures others
that we are men of personal integrity. In today's litigious and media-driven
climate, this witness to a sincere and prudent stance in matters of pastoral
care and practice proves invaluable. In light of the above, four themes in
Jesuit spirituality can serve as a support and guide for our counsel.
1. Gratitude. An underlying premise of Ignatius's worldview was that
everything is a gift from the Lord who has showered us with his love. If we
experience our lives as "gifts," we are inclined to feel grateful. Moreover, we
often sense the desire to give back, to respond generously to others in
gratitude for the giftedness the Lord has bestowed upon us. 4
As one might expect, our emotional states do influence the degree to which we
aid others. See Robert B. Cialdini, Douglas T. Kenrick, and Donald J. Baumann, "Effects
6 4* Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
In addition, a sense of gratitude provides a buffer when we experi-
ence negative emotions or are overly burdened by stressful events. Most of
us at one time or another find ourselves held captive by unresolved anger or
paralyzing fear. Of course, events in our lives can legitimately lead us to feel
anxious or depressed; but even so, our tendency to dwell on the negative can
make our lives more distressing at times than they need be. Gratitude offers
a sturdy buffer, cushioning us against the stressful and daily conflicts that
over time deplete our psychic energy.
When people come to us in a worried or troubled state, they are
often unable to experience gratitude or other positive emotions. Unfortu-
nately, this inability to summon up a conscious sense of gratitude frequently
leaves them prisoners of their negative feelings. Certainly, the absence of
gratitude does not plunge anyone into a troubled state. Any individual's
emotional problems stem from a unique admixture and complex interplay of
biological, psychological, and social factors. Nonetheless, the void arising
from an absence of gratitude predisposes people to fall prey to the fear,
jealousy, doubt, guilt, and anger that trigger emotional distress. Making the
choice to focus on memories and moments that stimulate grateful feelings
makes sense both for us and for those we counsel.
2. Doing good deeds. A second aspect of Jesuit spirituality that might
serve to guide our counsel is Ignatius's idea that love ought to show itself
more in deeds than in words. A client who came to me for therapy had the
habit of talking about how he wished to enhance his significant relation-
ships. He once told me, "I've always tried to be open to my friends and
attentive to their needs." Unfortunately, his behavior was all too often the
exact opposite. Instead of being vulnerable and open with his friends, he was
in fact quite controlling in his dealings with them. As I gained his trust, I
offered examples from his own life that showed the inconsistency between
what he said and what he did. Fortunately, he had the psychological motiva-
tion to change, and that spurred him to critically examine the discrepancy
between his words and deeds and alter the self-contradiction he had created.
Like this man, most people find uncomfortable internal inconsistencies, and
such distress provides a wholesome catalyst for change. Ignatius's focus on
viewing behavior as the litmus test for living the Gospel fits nicely with self-
identity— an evolving yet enduring self-definition that strives to reflect at any
one moment a range of consistent and coherent thoughts, feelings, and
behaviors. In this light, encouraging people to explore their lives by devising
some type of daily examen proves helpful. Furthermore, simply encouraging
of Mood on Prosocial Behavior in Children and Adults," in Nancy Eisenberg, ed., The
Development of Prosocial Behavior (New York: Academic Press, 1983), 339-59.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others ^ 7
people to engage in actions that benefit others, that is, "doing something
positive," can often contribute to altering an emotional state or personal
perception. Feelings, personal behaviors, and environment (the context in
which we live) are interconnected; and altering one of these factors (for
example, by engaging in some type of positive behavior or choosing to think
about some motives for gratitude) frequently enhances our other feelings,
behaviors, and perceptions.
3. Awareness of desires. Ignatius was reputedly a wise director of
souls; one focus of his attention was a person's desires. We exist as a bundle
of desires — some intense, some contradictory, some noble, some ignoble.
Obviously, the challenge for each of us is to discern our deepest desires and
to probe the end to which they are directed. Typically, when people have to
make important life decisions, their thoughts and inclinations fail to con-
verge and flow along a single path. Rather, they frequently find themselves
tugged in conflicting if not contradictory directions and are left uncertain
about their lives and the decisions they must make. Working in a collabora-
tive venture with someone seeking counsel and helping him examine which
desires reflect his core values are immensely rewarding. As is so often the
case, when one's deepest desires surface, the motivation to commit oneself to
a specific choice or course of action increases.
4. Where they are. A final dimension of Jesuit spirituality that we can
employ to advantage is Ignatius's insistence that we minister to people
"where they are." One wise commentator on Ignatius characterized this
approach to people as accompanying them through their door and coming
back out with them through yours. 5 This very pastoral way of thinking is
especially suited for working with youth. It is crucial for directors to have
an understanding of young peoples' perspectives. Their reading material,
their interests, and their sources for meaning all offer critical data that
cannot be ignored. Of course, such knowledge is essentially a means to an
end. Provided with such information, we can counsel youth in such a way
as to offer them loving care and compassionate challenge. Moreover, regard-
less of whom we serve through our ministries, we must cultivate a compas-
sionate yet objective perspective, a sympathetic understanding of the de-
mands and pressures besetting others and the internal experiences they are
seeking to sort out.
looooofloaaa*— QflBflaaaflaeaaaaflflaoifleaaMoaaoflaofloBoafloBoaeaaoeooooaoao«ao>OBaoooaooaaa«aaoa« oooo»oo«oaaQaaoaeooooaaooo«a>mi
Thomas H. Clancy, S.J., The Conversational Word of God (St. Louis: The
Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1978), 26-28.
8 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
Questions to Ponder
1. As I look back on my years in the Society, how has the spirituality
I have come to accept and grown comfortable with informed and
influenced my counseling of others?
2. Being as specific as possible, what aspects of Jesuit spirituality do I
find most compatible with and supportive of my ministerial style?
my counseling of others?
Practicing Jesuit Counsel: Spiritual Direction, Pastoral
Counseling, and Therapy
Below we will explore the essential domains of spiritual direction and
pastoral counseling. In order to provide greater clarity to the discus-
sion by means of contrast, we introduce a third form of counsel-
psychotherapy (hereafter referred to simply as therapy). Whereas most
Jesuits at times do some form of pastoral counseling and a significant num-
ber of men are spiritual directors, considerably fewer are psychotherapists. 6
Nonetheless, interjecting therapy into this discussion proves helpful in
defining the first two terms. We will first examine spiritual direction and
then therapy and pastoral counseling. Given the multiple perspectives and
definitions available, the goal of our discussion is not to establish a precise,
unassailable meaning for each. Rather, the intent is to set forth the range
covered by each form of counseling, in order to draw the necessary distinc-
tions contributing to greater self-insight and guidance capability.
First, let us explore spiritual direction. In the Christian tradition
spiritual direction possesses a rich heritage, yet no definition of this term
meets with everyone's approval. Essentially, spiritual direction enables one
to plumb more deeply the question, What is my experience of God? or,
Where is the Lord leading me now? More broadly, spiritual direction is a
relationship in which a director provides support, guidance, and insight
regarding the directee's experience of God. More specifically, spiritual
direction enables a directee in the circumstances of his or her current life to
address the question, What does the Lord ask of me now? Or, even more
6 When I speak of Jesuits who are "psychotherapists," I am referring to those
men who have successfully gone through the necessary training and examinations that
allow them to be licensed or certified by state regulatory agencies as, for example, social
workers, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, licensed personal counselors, and so forth.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 9
basic, Where is God in my life? As such, spiritual direction nourishes the
spiritual life by fostering a person's growing appreciation for and understand-
ing of his or her religious experience.
If spirituality is the religious experience at the heart of every religion,
spiritual direction can be considered the art of guiding and supporting
someone in that experience. More formally, spiritual direction can be
defined as an interpersonal relationship that fosters the discovery and
nourishment of the transcendent or spiritual aspects of our lives. 7
To help unravel the meaning of spiritual direction, we might try
this exercise. Think of the term "spiritual direction" and free-associate for a
minute or so. What words surface as you probe the meaning of spiritual
direction? Trying this exercise myself elicited the following words and
phrases: dialogue with God, prayer, flow, spiritual or religious experience,
reflection, narrative, stories of God, and the question, What is God asking?
Though this exercise fails to provide any airtight definition for spiritual
direction, it does reveal a scope or range within which spiritual direction
More concretely, spiritual direction focuses on an individual's
religious experience. During a religious experience one confronts Mystery— the
radical otherness that invites surrender. The fruits of such experience are
often new layers of meaning and purpose, greater degrees of connection and
wholeness, and increased willingness to respond unstintingly in service to
other men and women. In essence, religious experience enhances one's
capacity for selfless love, which, in the Christian tradition, is modeled on the
life and death of Jesus. In sum, religious experience invites, on our part, a
willing receptivity. It encourages a tranquil spirit that refrains from the
willful "I" and "me" and embraces the connecting and intertwining of self
with other meanings. On a personal level, religious experience diminishes the
autonomous self and enhances the communal self. It beckons wholeness and
purpose, and links one's own experience, if even at first only at an inchoa-
tive or tacit level, with the message and life of Jesus.
Yet religious experience is also human experience, and one grace-
filled joy arising from our humanness is that it is through our senses that we
are so often invited to meet Transcendence. A work of beauty, an encounter
with nature, an experience of love, a moment of wonder, or the joy of
Brendan Collins, "The Changing Relationship between Psychology and
Contemporary Spiritual Direction," Pastoral Psychology 40, no. 5 (1992): 286.
10 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
consolation—any or all when transformed by the Lord's gentle grace-
constitute what we might term the "content domain" for spiritual direction. 8
Having explored the scope of spiritual direction, let us now shift
our attention to the meaning of therapy. As is the case with spiritual
direction, there is no universally accepted definition. The psychiatrist Jerome
Frank provides a helpful starting point. This author states, "Psychotherapy is
a planned, emotionally charged, confiding interaction between a trained,
socially sanctioned healer and a sufferer." 9 Utilizing Frank's definition, we
glean the essential elements of therapy: the relationship of a professional
with someone experiencing psychological distress, who over a period of time
discloses acutely felt and often painful memories and feeling states for the
explicit purpose of resolving the distress or achieving some other acceptable
outcome (for example, effective coping skills). Crucial to Frank's definition is
his advocacy of the "demoralization hypothesis" as a significant factor within
the therapeutic process. Demoralization occurs when, because of a lack of
certain skills or confusion of goals, individuals become persistently unable to
master situations and rise to the expectations of others, or when individuals
experience continued emotional upset that they cannot adequately under-
stand or alleviate (16).
Having read this description, return for a moment to the free-
association exercise, only this time free- associate on the word "therapy."
What words or phrases does this word generate? My list includes the follow-
ing: dysfunction, problems in living, illness, hurting, negative feelings,
suffering, and pain. All in all, though we have not provided any clear-cut
definitions, the reader certainly has the sense that the focus and purpose of
spiritual direction and therapy differ significantly. Whereas spiritual direction
centers more on the flow of life, particularly in relation to God's call,
therapy focuses on working through the problems in life and the subjective
distress such difficulties create. 10
8 Other examples might include realizing complexity in oneself, others, or
nature; acknowledging the corrupting power of evil; experiencing ourselves as powerless;
taking a stance that arises from personal integrity; and savoring a moment of self-insight
about ourselves or someone we love. See also John H. Wright, "The Distinctive Quality of
Religious Experience," Logos 2 (1981): 85-97; and Frank J. Houdek, "Jesuit Prayer and
Jesuit Ministry," STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS 24 January 1992): 22-31.
9 Jerome D. Frank, "Therapeutic Components Shared by All Psychotherapies,"
in The Master Lecture Series: Psychotherapy Research and Behavior Change, vol. 1
(Washington, D.C.: The American Psychological Association, 1981), 10.
10 For a more extensive treatment of this distinction and related issues of
interest, I refer the reader to a previously published article of mine. See Charles M.
Shelton, "Spiritual Direction or Psychotherapy: A Primer for the Perplexed," in Robert
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 11
Distinguishing between these two forms of counsel is critical for
both ministerial and ethical reasons. An individual seeking guidance from
either a spiritual director or a therapist has specific needs that must be
respected. A Jesuit ministering to someone in one of these roles, likewise,
must have a clarity that allows him to distinguish between these two forms
of counsel. I suspect the distinction between spiritual direction and therapy
is clearer, on average, for Jesuits working as licensed mental-health profes-
sionals than it is for Jesuits whose ministry includes part- or full-time
spiritual direction. Jesuits who provide mental-health care are constantly
reminded of their role to function only as therapists. A partial list of these
"reminders" include their profession's written code of ethics (for instance,
the American Psychological Association's Code of Ethics), written treatment
plans, state licensing regulations, insurance forms, and so on. Jesuit spiritual
directors, for the most part, lack such formal reminders. 11 In addition, my
impression is that many Jesuit spiritual directors, understandably, read books
and articles with psychologically related themes. In view of the lack of
outside checks and balances along with a false or inflated impression of their
own experience regarding psychological issues, some spiritual directors might
at times be tempted to blur boundaries and function as a person's "unoffi-
cial" therapist as well as his spiritual director. 12 Conceivably a director might
respond to a directee's personal revelations in a way that steers the conversa-
tion toward more therapeutically based goals, not taking the time to reflect
also on the legitimate focus of his counsel. When a Jesuit director combines
an overly optimistic appraisal of his ability and training with this limited
awareness of boundaries, he might slowly and unthinkingly slide into the
role of quasi therapist. A Jesuit spiritual director must make every effort to
resist any such temptation to take on the role of therapist in dealing with a
Wister, ed., Psychology, Counseling and the Seminarian (Washington, D.C.: The National
Catholic Educational Association, 1993), 43-66.
I certainly wish to acknowledge the impressive strides made in the training of
spiritual directors, as demonstrated by the development of spiritual-direction programs,
course offerings, and the skill building that arises from supervision and practicums. Even
with this growing professionalization, however, spiritual direction "as a profession," unlike
various mental-health professions, lacks government licensing and regulatory agencies to
monitor and hold practitioners accountable.
I realize the above statement might be a sensitive issue for some Jesuit spiritual
directors. Even so, in the course of conversation with others, I have encountered this
phenomenon often enough that, in my opinion, all Jesuit spiritual directors should
critically reflect on this issue.
12 * Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
What about "pastoral counseling," the third type of counsel under
discussion? I wish to say at the outset that, as in the case of both spiritual
direction and therapy, there exists no universally accepted definition. In fact,
I suspect that of the three types of counsel under consideration, the nature
of pastoral counseling very likely gives rise to the most disagreement. In my
view, the scope of pastoral counseling bridges both the disciplines of spiritual
direction and of therapy. From the former are derived content areas includ-
ing a faith context, prayer, and moral struggles. For the sake of clarity, let's
refer to this decidedly spiritual or religious focus as the "pastoral" aspect of
pastoral counseling. On the other hand, from the "counseling" dimension of
pastoral counseling, we derive themes such as suffering, problems in living,
and painful emotions. In sum, when a Jesuit counsels someone pastorally, he
is, in effect, helping an individual resolve, bring clarity to, or more fully
understand personal struggles and problems (for instance, alcoholism,
divorce), especially as such difficulties are encountered while on one's
spiritual or faith journey to discover Mystery more fully or a sense of the
Transcendent. 13 Note that the struggles and problems individuals address in
pastoral counseling need not directly bear on their faith or spiritual lives.
Moreover, in some instances, pastoral counseling is done with people whose
own life-views exclude any explicit faith reference or who consider the very
notion of spirituality irrelevant to their lives (for example, an agnostic or
alienated teenager). Nonetheless, pastoral counseling has as its ultimate goal
enabling an individual to view life's difficulties and challenges within some
context that ideally incorporates a reference to the spiritual life or a faith
context, even though in individual cases such a context might never be stated
Because pastoral counseling focuses on human problems in living,
the temptation might arise at times to focus solely on such problems. For
secular counseling (therapy) this might well be adequate, but for pastoral
counseling there is need to balance this concern with the "pastoral" dimen-
sion. When pastoral counselors choose to dwell only on this "counseling"
aspect, they run the risk of adopting a psychological mind-set in which the
subjective self becomes the moral reference point and redemptive suffering is
13 See, for example, Barry K. Estadt, "In Pursuit of Freedom: Introductory
Comments on Pastoral Psychology," Psychology of Religion Newsletter, American
Psychological Association, Division 36 18 (Winter 1993): 1-7.
14 It is conceivable that in some pastoral situations an individual might request a
meeting with a Jesuit in which neither knows at the outset whether the first and
subsequent meetings will fall under "spiritual direction" or "pastoral counseling." In such
instances, it is prudent to seek clarity and make explicit the purpose for such meetings.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •%• 13
reduced simply to another problem needing resolution. 15 Our efforts at
pastoral counseling must not dilute the Christian message to a merely
palatable mixture of psychological themes. When our pastoral counseling
goes down the road of seeking only a psychological understanding of the
person, then it becomes possible for vital issues such as "grace," "forgive-
ness," and "sin"— the very heart of pastoral care— to be interpreted under a
psychological lens to mean "self-actualization," "reframing," and "self-esteem
issues." The psychiatrist Robert Coles addresses this problem in such a
forthright manner that I quote him at length on this point:
Especially sad and disedifying is the preoccupation of all too many clergy
with the dubious blandishments of contemporary psychology and psychia-
try. I do not mean to say there is no value in understanding what psycho-
analytic studies, and others done in this century by medical and psychologi-
cal investigators, have to offer any of us who spend time with our fellow
human beings— in the home, in school, at work, and certainly, in the
various places visited by ministers and priests. The issue is the further step
not a few of today's clergy have taken whereby "pastoral counseling," for
instance, becomes their major ideological absorption and the use of the
language of psychology their major source of self-satisfaction. Surely we are
in danger of losing our religious faith when the chief satisfaction of our
lives consists of endless attribution of psychological nomenclature to all
who happen to come our way. 16
In a society where psychological explanations abound, it is helpful to reassess
periodically where we place the emphasis in the counsel we provide. In sum,
we must ensure balance in our counsel, to be sure that the pastoral compo-
nent will receive proper attention.
One way we might reinforce this pastoral dimension is to designate
specific "domains" for pastoral counseling. In their roles as pastoral counsel-
ors, Jesuits help people sort through the complexity and challenges of human
living encountered during their faith journeys. These challenges are often
best addressed through one of the following three domains: (a) fostering self-
insight, (b) articulating values, and (c) developing conscience. Keeping these
three domains in mind, I propose that a Jesuit's pastoral counseling have as
primary goals helping others develop self-awareness, articulating religious and
personal values, and aiding moral decision making. Thus, when functioning
in the role of a pastoral counselor, a Jesuit should put his major focus on
helping his counselees achieve greater awareness of who they are, what they
Richard Rohr, "Why Does Psychology Always Win?" Sojourners 10
(November 1991): 10-15.
Robert Coles, Harvard Diary: Reflections on the Sacred and the Secular (New
York: Crossroad, 1989), 93.
14 * Charles M. Shelton, S J.
believe in, and how they make moral decisions. Let's take each domain
1. Fostering self-insight. If we are to be open to the Lord's grace, we
must continually strive for self-knowledge. What we think and how we feel
can exert tremendous influence over how we understand and discern the
Lord's call to discipleship. For example, distorted thoughts or acutely painful
feelings all too easily preoccupy us, thereby eclipsing a more balanced
interpretation of our situation. Anger, lingering guilt, and unresolved hurts
absorb psychic energy, blocking more hopeful understandings of our situa-
tion or consideration of more adaptive coping strategies. Fertile areas to
process with counselees when addressing issues of self-insight might include
the following: emotional needs, a current problematic situation, major life
influences, effective coping strategies, and significant causes of personal stress.
All of us have engaged in the sort of active listening that promotes a sense of
care and provides feedback, thereby enabling people to acquire insight about
both themselves and their life situations. Addressing the human context and
current functioning of a counselee's life makes eminent sense, since the
Lord's grace works through who we are at any concrete moment of our
existence. Oftentimes a question or some reflective feedback helps orient the
counselee to frame a difficult life situation within a faith context. For
example, after helping the counselee gain self-knowledge, questions such as,
"Have you thought about how this experience has made you a better
person?" or, "Where might God be in all of this?" help to ensure that the
integrity of the "pastoral" dimension is maintained.
2. Promoting value awareness. A basic tenet of counseling is that
"the essence of being human is the right and the capacity for self-determina-
tion, guided by purposes, values, and options. Out of our free will we can
give our lives meaning even in the face of inevitable death." 17 As a Jesuit's
counsel aids someone's self-knowledge, the individual often reaches a mo-
ment when he or she sees the need to evaluate at greater depth some per-
sonal course of action. Some commonplace questions we can explore with
the men and women we counsel might be: Who am I becoming? What are
my desires? What is truly important in this situation? What are my hopes
and dreams? A common theme running through these questions is the
notion of significance— what values are most central to counselees at this
point in their lives and what can they do, given their circumstances and life
situation, to live these values in their daily lives?
3. Making moral decisions. It is vital that as pastoral counselors we
encourage people to make informed and healthy moral choices. The most
17 Frank, "Therapeutic Components," 11.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 15
practical way to do this is to help individuals form their consciences. 18
Obviously, conscience involves understanding what one ought to do (and
doing it). But we shortchange its richness if we define conscience solely in
terms of what we perceive through a cognitive lens. In its fullest meaning,
conscience consists in the dynamic interplay of emotion and thought
whereby an individual comes to feel a healthy sense of self, develops a
growing sensitivity to others, and thinks through and implements well-
reasoned moral principles. Conscience, for the Christian, is the guiding light
for behavior (see Rom. 13:5, 14:23) as well as the moral source for person-
hood. However, the goal of developing a fully mature conscience always
contends with personal limitations, lack of personal growth, and physical,
interpersonal, and social stressors that so often frustrate sound moral deci-
sion making, if they do not preclude it entirely. "Pastoral counseling ad-
dresses a particular person, with a unique history, in a particular situation. " 19
We need not only to encourage healthy and well-thought-out moral deci-
sions on the part of those we counsel, but also to help them discern the
human frailty that accompanies all moral decision making. With this in
mind, we can help counselees by encouraging them to focus on and be
conscious of what specific moral principles they adhere to, how they apply
them, and what the consequences of such applications might be. Further, a
profitable strategy is to reflect with them on the qualities of a "mature"
conscience as well as on the linkage between healthy moral decision making
and ongoing critical reflection, continual self-examination, and dialogue with
others within the faith community. 20
All in all, any attempt to define pastoral counseling proves some-
what elusive. No doubt, most of us have found our roles as pastoral counsel-
ors to be at times anything but clear as we aid others struggling with very
human problems and personal questions of meaning. Even so, by directing
I have set forth a multidimensional theory of conscience that can be applied to
people's everyday lives of work and relationship. See Charles M. Shelton, Achieving Moral
Health (New York: Crossroad, 2000).
J. Milburn Thompson, "Pastoral Ministry and Moral Theology," New Theology
Review 4 (February 1991): 54.
Of course, to address issues such as "conscience" and "moral decision making"
brings up the matter of the Jesuit's own beliefs on a wide variety of issues (for example,
sexuality) and the correspondence or lack thereof between the official Church teaching
(magisterium) and various other theological viewpoints, exploring whether they are in
accord with, in tension with, or at odds with those teachings. Just as the Jesuit invites his
counselees to think critically about their moral beliefs, he too must be open to reflect
critically on his own moral positions, to converse with others about his stances, and to be
willing to be challenged concerning them.
16 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
our efforts with counselees toward gaining greater self-awareness, promoting
gospel values, and encouraging sound moral decisions, we help to ensure that
our counsel reflects a clarity of purpose and that it is carried out with
In conclusion, we might derive benefit from reflecting briefly on the
three forms of counsel discussed above. Spiritual direction's focus is helping
a person understand his or her religious experience and relationship with
God. Pastoral counseling is directed toward helping people to clarify, make
sense of, or find meaning from personal problems in living, especially as
these difficulties relate to their faith journeys. Ideally, this purpose is
achieved through helping others gain self-knowledge, develop greater aware-
ness of their religious and personal values, and enhance their ability to make
authentic moral choices. Therapy (psychotherapy), on the other hand, has as
its primary goal helping someone to resolve or cope with significant emo-
tional distress and problematic behaviors that impede or impair one's ability
to achieve personal goals and attain the greatest degree possible of human
Questions to Ponder
1. When I counsel someone pastorally, do I take the time to consider
what goals I wish to achieve with the counselee?
2. How do I understand the "pastoral" and "counseling" aspects of
pastoral counseling? In what ways have I experienced tension be-
tween them as I counsel others? What ways have I used to resolve
3. Do I agree with the position that some focus areas (domains) exist
which are proper to pastoral counseling? If so, what are the relevant
areas or domains that I usually address when counseling someone
pastorally? If not, how do I prevent my pastoral counseling from
becoming spiritual direction or secular counseling (therapy)?
If the Jesuit participates in an ongoing group-discussion format
either through his community or with a group that meets on a regular basis,
the following two exercises might prove helpful.
4. Each member of the group takes the time to share pastoral encoun-
ters where he has felt the tensions between the "pastoral" and the
"counseling" dimensions of his pastoral counseling.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 17
Each member of the group gives her own definition of spiritual
direction and pastoral counseling. As a group goal, all try to reach a
consensus on a definition for these two terms.
Some Practical Issues regarding Jesuit Counsel
The ministries Jesuits undertake provide numerous opportunities for
offering pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. In the course of
such counsel as well as through other ministerial relationships, four
practical issues commonly surface: (a) the need to set boundaries, (b) the
commitment to keep confidences, (c) the necessity at times to make a
referral, and (d) the presence of a transference. Each of these issues is ex-
plored in more detail below.
A. Setting Boundaries
From my entrance into the novitiate until the day of my ordination
a decade later, I don't recall ever hearing the word "boundary." Yet in the
last fifteen years this word has become one of a number of common themes
addressed in training programs in pastoral ministry. Even the most recent
general congregation of the Society made explicit reference to the need for
Jesuits to set boundaries when it noted, "It is especially important that those
in ministries like spiritual direction, counseling, or therapy keep appropriate
'professional' boundaries." 21
Normally we do not think about our skin, but more than anything
else it provides us with a physical boundary (limit) that not only defines us
but also distinguishes us from others. In a similar vein, a boundary, in the
context of Jesuit counseling, is best understood as an appropriate limit on
the relationship between a Jesuit and a counselee or directee. Respecting
boundaries serves a twofold purpose. First, it maintains the integrity of a
Jesuit's counsel. Second, it offers protection for both the Jesuit and the
person receiving his counsel.
Our counsel requires appropriate boundary setting primarily be-
cause, for the most part, when people come to us they have a need. When
21 No. 254 (p. 123).
18 •!• Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
others approach us with specific needs, certain implications become clear.
First, their need makes them vulnerable. Second, as a consequence of this
need, the Jesuit has a certain "power" in the relationship. Third, this "need/
power" dynamic creates a power imbalance. A Jesuit might exercise his
power in any number of ways. For example, he can make a suggestion or
apply a specific skill or expertise he has acquired through his training. Or, to
give other examples, a Jesuit administrator can make decisions on budgetary
matters, hiring choices, or personnel decisions, while a Jesuit pastor has
influence in matters pertaining to parishioners' sacramental life or parish-
staffing issues. Power is also evident through the exercise of the priestly
office, for example, offering the sacrament of reconciliation or working with
a troubled spouse on an annulment. Finally, though we have grown so
accustomed to its place in our self-identity that we usually do not consider
its influence, merely writing "SJ." after our name can be viewed as a display
of power. From a psychological perspective, and increasingly from a legal
one, simply being a seminarian, a priest, or a member of a religious order
confers a status that might be construed as having power vis-a-vis another
Of course, the issue is not power per se. Rather, the issue is how a
Jesuit uses such power in his counsel of others. Generally speaking, a
boundary violation occurs when a counseling Jesuit acts in ways serving to
satisfy his need rather than the need of the person seeking his assistance. I
believe that, as a whole, when engaged in counseling others, members of the
Society, mindful of their personal integrity and commitment to the vowed
life, maintain appropriate boundaries. But because boundary violations can
range from the seemingly innocuous and subtle to the quite overt and
explicit, a short list of examples might be helpful. Thus, focusing on all the
counseling situations in which a Jesuit might find himself, we can suggest
these possible boundary violations: (a) manipulating someone we counsel to
ask us certain questions so that we can display our knowledge, (b) encourag-
ing counselees to divulge more of their personal lives than is necessary,
(c) shaping the conversation in such a way that we encourage dependence on
the part of a counselee, (d) suggesting topics or specific responses that gratify
22 This statement might come as a surprise when we reflect on our involvement
in some counseling situations. At times we might even have felt we were being held
hostage psychologically by someone we were trying to help in our role as spiritual
director or pastoral counselor. For example, most Jesuits can recall instances when the
sheer personality, manipulation, or actions of the person they were counseling made them
feel anything but powerful or equal in the counseling situation! Even so, the social and
official status we have as religious, by virtue of the fiduciary trust such a role entails,
makes us seem like men possessing power even in these encounters.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 19
us rather than aid the directee, (e) volunteering inappropriate self-disclosures
that make us the focus of attention, and (f) engaging in inappropriate physi-
cal contact with the person receiving our counsel.
GC 34 acknowledges the gravity of boundary violations when it
bids Jesuits to be "professional" in their conduct as priests and religious. A
footnote in decree 8 elaborates what being such a "professional" entails.
A "professional" relationship implies much more than a merely contractual
or even business relationship in that, unlike these latter, it is conducted not
between equals but between two unequal parties, one of whom (the profes-
sional) has expertise and experience in the relevant area, while the other
(the client) is ignorant in this area and requires access to professional skills
and acumen. The professional to this degree is, quite legitimately, in a
position of power and authority. To act "professionally" involves not only
making one's expertise available but also not abusing the power relationship
to manipulate the client. It requires objectivity, impartiality, sensitivity, and
delicacy both in making the expertise available and in empowering the
client to pursue his or her interest, rather than inducing in the client a
dependence on the professional. 23
How might boundary violations be avoided? During my years of
clinical work with priests, seminarians, and religious, I have found one of
the most consistent characteristics of boundary violators is their inability to
satisfy their needs in healthy and appropriate ways. Most people do find
ways to meet their needs; but the crucial question is, Are these needs
fulfilled in "appropriate" ways that encourage a happy, healthy, and produc-
tive apostolic and human way of living? Because we are human, we might
have moments or periods in our lives when, because of the "needy" state in
which we find ourselves, we are drawn into some foolish action or inadver-
tently stumble into some minor boundary violation. The true boundary
violator, on the other hand, displays through his counsel a consistent pattern
of using those for whom he provides pastoral care in ways that primarily
satisfy his own needs. More often than not, a combination of such factors as
previous life history, temperament, limited self-insight, poor decision mak-
ing, impaired interpersonal relationships, and difficult living conditions draws
a boundary violator into a life of dysfunction and results in a subtle, if not
overt, manipulation of others. Such individuals manifest more than a tolera-
ble level of dysfunction, and their boundary violations are symptoms of
significant life issues and human impairment, as well as wrongful means for
satisfying personal needs.
No. 253, n. 25 (p. 122), emphasis added.
20 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
Related to the above, some men who violate boundaries live in
community situations that are less than ideal. I raise this issue simply to
point out that, although each Jesuit must take responsibility for his actions
and be accountable for them, there is no denying that the quality of his
living situation supports and sustains either appropriate or inappropriate
behaviors. A married man experiencing marital problems is a vulnerable
human being who might be tempted to engage in inappropriate behavior as
a way of assuaging the negative feelings he harbors toward his spouse. A
Jesuit who feels upset with or unappreciated by his community likewise
might be tempted to violate boundaries, in part to ease the negative feelings
of hurt, disappointment, or anger he experiences in community life. In other
words, unless a Jesuit feels rooted in his community and bonded to his
brothers, the lure to violate a boundary might, at times, surface. Moreover,
GC 34 implicitly acknowledges the temptation to perpetrate boundary
violations when it explicitly recognizes brotherly support as an important
aid to leading a chaste life. "Further, chastity is a shared responsibility of all
Jesuits to safeguard seriously and to further through their mutual fraternal
support and friendships as well as through the aid they offer superiors in
their care for their companions and for the Society." 24
In addition to the above discussion of the more typical types of
boundary violations, the advent of computer technology and increasingly
sophisticated forms of cyber-space communications creates the opportunity
for a different type of boundary violation, this one spawned by the inappro-
priate use of technology. It is estimated that by the year 2002, nearly 43
percent of American households will be online (compared to 8.6 percent in
1996) and the total number of Internet users will number 85 million Ameri-
cans (compared to 12.5 million in 1996). 25 Given this rapid rise, it is safe to
assume that e-mails, Web sites, chat rooms, and even virtual reality will
undoubtedly become more and more a part of Jesuit life in the years ahead.
Obviously, such enhanced technology affords increased opportunities for
Jesuits to communicate with one another and aids them to gather and
disseminate needed information. Yet the allure of online communication
poses several dangers. Communicating online feels anonymous and often
venturesome. The temptation might exist to experiment with or "try on" a
new and daring "self." Lacking face-to-face encounters that convey disapprov-
ing facial gestures or voice tone, the interaction taking place online "feels"
24 No. 266 (p. 127).
25 Statistics are from the U.S. Department of Commerce and cited in American
Psychological Association, "What Makes a Successful Cyber-Student?" APA Monitor 31
(April 2000): 11.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •$• 21
safe, secure, and secret and, as a consequence, might stimulate fantasy
reflected through increasingly provocative statements and questions to
someone "out there." "The online world lacks the checks on self that shape
and constrain behavior in the offline world." 26 Accordingly, it is not unrea-
sonable to conclude that a person's distressed or needy emotional state might
prod him to seek false comfort and support through online communication,
or use such technology (for example, chat rooms) as a way to distract
himself from acknowledging and coping in a healthy manner with emotional
problems demanding to be addressed. In addition, for millions of people
Internet usage has become a significant source for sexual information,
communication, exploration, and stimulation. 27 Moreover, a majority of
Internet users are well-educated males. 28 A growing number of mental-health
professionals — though acknowledging the multiple benefits Internet usage
provides — view the Internet as capable of creating opportunities for problem
behaviors, compulsive usage, and even addiction; thus every Jesuit must
scrutinize "how" he uses such valuable yet enticing technology. 29 This
scrutiny includes examining (a) the amount of time he spends on the Inter-
net, (b) the content of his online communication, (c) the individuals with
whom he communicates, and (d) the type of information he seek online.
Needless to say, the aura of anonymity that accompanies online communica-
tion is a false security. Messages sent and Web sites hit are traceable. Consid-
ering all these factors, Jesuits, like all mature ministers of the Gospel, are
rightly expected to use online communication in ways that are prudent,
appropriate, and professional.
Against this background, we can list self-awareness and ongoing
reflection as the essential steps for maintaining boundaries. The reader might
find it helpful to draw upon his or her own personal experience and use a
case-study approach here. To offer one example, a Jesuit might call to mind a
person he counseled while exercising his role as a spiritual director or
pastoral counselor. As he thinks about his interactions with this directee or
counselee, he might reflect on any of the questions below that might gener-
26 Bridget Murray, "A Mirror on the Self," APA Monitor 31 (April 2000): 17.
7 See Alvin Cooper, Coralie R. Scherer, Sylvain C. Boies, and Barry L. Gordon,
"Sexuality on the Internet: From Sexual Exploration to Pathological Expression,"
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 30 (1999): 154-64.
28 American Psychological Association, "Psychologist's Work and Dreams Led to
the Rise of the Internet," APA Monitor 31 (April 2000): 10.
29 Tori DeAngelis, "Is Internet Addiction Real?" APA Monitor 31 (April 2000):
22 4* Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
ate an insight or self-knowledge regarding his role as a "Jesuit of good
counsel. " 30
1. Given that fostering greater self-awareness is a worthy goal toward
which I can strive, I might gently probe my motives and desires and
ask the question, What "reasons" come to mind that help me to
understand "why" I counseled this person?
2. What did I learn about myself from this relationship?
3. In offering counsel to this person, was I tempted to self-disclose
"more about me" than is normally appropriate? 31
4. Did I find myself sexually attracted to this person? If so, what
appropriate measures did I use to handle these feelings?
In addition to the case-study approach used above, it is often helpful
to take the time to periodically reflect more generally on the counseling I
do, on my own life situation, and the extent to which I allow for "self-care, "
which has as its goal, ultimately, more effective ministerial service to the
People of God. In this regard, some of the following questions might prove
5. If I made a list of the "needs" I have in my life, what would I write
down? Do I have healthy ways to meet these needs? 32 Can I name
the personal needs that are met when I offer counsel to others?
6. What does it mean for me to say I live a "healthy life?" 33
7. Am I able to place necessary "limits" on the counsel I do (for
example, number of people, length of conferences, times of day,
30 These questions and statements are based on personal reflections regarding my
clinical and pastoral work as well as discussions with colleagues in both fields.
This question is not meant to say that we should never self-disclose. The
important point to keep in mind is that when a Jesuit counsels someone, he is there for
the person seeking his assistance and not the other way around. Generally speaking, a
Jesuit's self-disclosure should have as its purpose to aid the person seeking counsel.
Obviously, unless we are masochists we do counsel others because of a
naturally occurring and grace-filled "need" to help others. From this perspective, it is
hardly inappropriate if we feel some sense of satisfaction or pride in providing help for
others. Nonetheless, our personal motivations must be probed carefully, because excessive
self-gratification and power trips always lurk as possible motivations. To say this another
way, rarely are our motivations totally pure or singular in purpose; as a consequence, we
must scrutinize our consciousness and be willing to admit that a darker side might be
clouding our intentions.
33 For healthy characteristics of Jesuit living, see Charles M. Shelton,
"Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits," STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS 23
(September 1991): 9-15.
When a Jesuit Counsels Others + 23
frequency of sessions)? Am I able, if the situation demands, to
question whether I should be the one offering this person counsel?
8. Am I as aware as I might be of multiple relationships (relating to
someone through two or more roles) that currently exist in my life
or might occur in the future? 34
9. In terms of the apostolic commitments I have, how do I respond to
the twin pressures of declining manpower and aging? In light of
these "pressures," do I find myself feeling, at times, "burned out"?
Do I detect in myself the temptation in my apostolic work simply
to try "to do more" as the manpower shortage grows more acute? In
light of the theme of the three previous questions, how do I "feel"
about the statement of GC 34 that a Jesuit "must avoid a style of
life and of work that puts him under excessive affective stress or
that necessitates a continual suppression of his own feelings and
leads eventually to affective regression, 'burnout,' or some kind of
psychic disturbance"? 35
10. Do I have both trusted and knowledgeable Jesuit and lay friends in
whom I can confide and from whom I can seek advice?
11. Is my use of online communication both appropriate and profes-
sional? Do I spend an excessive amount of time on the Internet?
Am I willing to question whether I use the Internet to some degree
as a way to avoid dialogue and interaction in community with my
Though the most recent general congregation does not refer to the
issue of confidentiality, it most certainly is implied in the congregation's
statement that "Jesuits should embody in their ministry and in their lives an
Nothing is inherently wrong in having some multiple relationships; moreover,
in ministerial settings such relationships frequently cannot be avoided. For example, a
Jesuit pastor might relate to some parishioners through a variety of roles; for instance,
pastor, friend, fellow finance-committee member, spiritual director, and so on. Generally
speaking, multiple relationships have the potential for complicating or undermining
ministerial effectiveness. On a practical level, when multiple relationships are benign or
cannot be avoided, then several precautions might be considered: (a) try to anticipate
future role conflicts and discuss them with the person beforehand, (b) go over your
concerns with a trusted colleague, (c) suggest another person who might be able to aid the
person in specific areas.
35 No. 260 (p. 125f.).
24 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
unequivocal 'professional' conduct (modestia) that manifests their commit-
ments as priests and as religious." 36 In a Jesuit's ministry the issue of confi-
dentiality is a challenging one. Some professions (for instance, psychology)
are able to rely upon a professional organization (for example, the American
Psychological Association) to set forth specific ethical guidelines for their
members regarding professional conduct in general and confidentiality in
particular. Most Jesuits who counsel, on the other hand, with the exception
of the confessional seal, have no such set of guidelines on which to rely. 37
To be sure, a Jesuit's common sense and ethical sensitivity serve to protect
the confidences of others. Nonetheless, a number of factors converge to
make it at times a challenge to preserve confidences.
To take one example, every Jesuit knows that many pastoral
situations are complex and that at times the input of others might prove
beneficial. In addition, the well-intentioned inquiries from brother Jesuits
and the structure of community life itself might tempt the Jesuit to share
information. We might be puzzled by our counselee's actions and desire to
seek input and clarity from a trusted Jesuit friend with whom we live. In
such instances, our inquiry is an attempt to gather information shedding
light on a behavior that perplexes us. We could imagine ourselves, for
example, sitting down in the recreation room one night, or over coffee in
the dining room, and seeking our friend's feedback in the sincere belief that
soliciting such input is for the good of the person we counsel. Yet we would
be wise to keep several things in mind that bear upon any disclosures we
Members of the Society are by and large sensitive men who find
significant satisfaction through their Jesuit friendships. The numerous
interlocking connections that any given Jesuit maintains and nurtures
through his Jesuit friendships provide him with solace, support, information,
challenge, and contentment. Granted this interconnecting, multilayered
social system of friendship, it seems natural for a Jesuit to seek out one or
another Jesuit friend or confidant.
36 No. 253 (p. 122).
37 1 am well aware that organizations of pastoral counselors and spiritual
directors exist which have formulated ethical codes. However, the vast majority of Jesuits
do not belong to such organizations (and hence are not bound by their norms).
Furthermore, as noted previously, such organizations— unlike most professional mental-
health associations— lack governmental regulatory agencies or state-association branches
that can enforce codes, monitor their members, and apply appropriate sanctions at the
When a Jesuit Counsels Others + 25
Yet it is also reasonable to conclude that the Jesuit who receives the
confidence of his friend also has his own social system of brotherly support
that spans more than a single community, apostolate, and geographic area;
and depending on his own inclination, temperament, or situation, he might
conceivably share a portion of the previously disclosed information with one
of his friends. Thus, from the standpoint of his everyday friendships, unless
a Jesuit keeps to himself every confidence shared with him, he can never
guarantee that information will not be disclosed to a third party! Moreover,
the social structure in which Jesuits live encourages a casual atmosphere, as
rightly it should, since a man's community is his home. But in the midst of
a relaxed, informal living situation in community, a Jesuit understandably
might unintentionally let down his guard. Further, community life itself is a
group-living experience; thus, the possibility always exists that the Jesuit's
conversation with a trusted brother might unintentionally be overheard by
others within the community.
Obviously, it is healthy that Jesuits have other Jesuits not only with
whom they can confide personal concerns but also from whom they can
seek pastoral advice and guidance. To feel both a personal and a professional
bond with the brothers with whom a Jesuit lives and works is both healthy
and natural. Furthermore, some Jesuits, because of their position within the
apostolate, their expertise, or their inviting and open personality, are privy
to and carry about with them a considerable surcharge of "heavy" informa-
tion. Quite naturally, to maintain adequate emotional and spiritual health,
such men need brother Jesuits in whom they can confide. In sum, the
confidences entrusted to us deserve to be safeguarded. At the same time, to
live healthy lives both as human beings and as companions to one another,
we must avail of opportunities to receive from and provide feedback to at
least one or several of our brothers — depending on the issue— about the
concerns, worries, and problems that vex us, be they of a personal or
In light of this, how a Jesuit personally resolves issues of confiden-
tiality arising from his counseling of others does not lend itself to any
perfectly scripted norms. Obviously, maintaining confidentiality forbids
certain behaviors, such as engaging in gossip, disclosing someone's identity,
or becoming overly inquisitive about privileged matters. But like so many
life situations involving ethical sensitivity, complex problems, and human
beings who are both noble and frail, it is far easier to delineate what not to
say or do than to set down what is the right course of action to follow.
Nonetheless, because holding (and bearing) confidences with integrity
ushers us so close to the core of what it means to live as holy and honorable
men, it should prove helpful to reflect on this issue and challenge ourselves,
26 4* Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
both individually and communally, to realize more perfectly the very
holiness and honor for which we strive. The challenge to hold and bear
confidences has applications on both our spiritual and our human lives.
Regarding the former, a Jesuit's struggle to maintain confidences might at
times call him through faith to utter a grace-filled prayer for courage,
fortitude, and trust. At the same time, being only human, a Jesuit holding
confidences might have to starkly confront the demands his own integrity
places on him as he wrestles with the temptation to relax his self-control
(and unnecessarily disclose to others) or to reject the humble stance proper
to his Jesuit vocation (and share information in order to gain attention).
With this rightful theme in mind— the call to live holy and honorable lives—
we might reflect on the following statements.
1. Implicit in the confidence I hold is the respect I have for those who
disclose their problems to me. Accordingly, it might be helpful to ask myself
periodically how my actions and behaviors respect those who have trusted
me with their confidences. If it seems helpful, I might consider ways to
incorporate this theme of "respect for counselees and directees" into my
2. When we judge a pastoral or counseling matter to be of such gravity
that prudence requires us to seek the advice of or feedback from someone,
we should take special care to uphold the twofold goal of sharing only what
is necessary and maintaining confidentiality regarding the person's identity.
3. When we are tired, when overly stressed, when attempting to cope
with significant apostolic pressures, or when weighed down by a plethora of
confidential information, prudence dictates that we attempt to impose some
limit on the events we attend, the people we deal with, or the situations we
encounter. At a minimum, prior to some occasions we might profit from
developing some type of "game plan" allowing us to (a) deflect certain
questions with a standard response, (b) minimize our presence at an event, or
(c) exit discreetly from a situation or avoid it altogether. Moreover, when we
are more than normally tired, stressed, or emotionally upset, we can be
tempted to yield to the all-too-human reactions that such troubled states
induce. Under such conditions we are more prone to overlook the needs of
others, to miss information or social cues to which we are typically atten-
tive, and to say things we might later regret or wish had gone unsaid. The
good of our personal and apostolic integrity demands that we take the
personal initiatives available to us, invite the support and challenge of
friends, and enlist the aid of superiors, so that thus aided we can create for
ourselves as happy, healthy, and productive an apostolic life as is realistically
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 27
4. Our counsel, our position within the apostolate or the Society, or
simply the numerous relationships we have formed can sometimes place us
in a situation where we hold confidential information that is so "heavy" that
it is simply "hard," psychologically burdensome, to keep it to ourselves. In
such instances, we must be especially prudent as to what subject matter we
discuss and to whom we disclose information. Along with a healthy friend-
ship with a Jesuit we trust deeply, a knowledgeable spiritual director or
supervisor whom we see regularly is a critically important support when the
weight of confidences becomes especially hard to bear.
5. It is myopic to view holding confidences with integrity as just a
matter of concern for the individual Jesuit. As the above points reveal, we
do need to enlist social support from others. However, we need to expand
beyond one-on-one relationships to the very environment in which we live.
A community might profit (depending on its size) from having a
community-wide or small-group discussion on the "climate" of the commu-
nity in regard to issues touching on confidentiality. This could include one
or more of the following topics:
a. The "quality" of daily conversation. Helpful questions here might
be: How do I describe the "quality" of the daily conversations in our
community? What do I think should become a part of or cease to be part of
everyday house conversations? If I had to describe what I desire to be the
"ideal" conversations in the everyday life of this community, what would I
say? What might this "ideal" conversation include? What might it exclude?
b. Respect for others. Helpful questions here might be: Are our
everyday conversations respectful of community members? of our colleagues?
of those we minister to? What can we incorporate into our conversation that
is supportive of and helps invigorate our individual and communal apostolic
c. Awareness of boundaries. Helpful questions here might be: Does
everyday conversation lead to undue speculation or gossip about brother
Jesuits? colleagues? people to whom we minister? What "criteria" could we
discuss and agree upon that might then serve to guide house conversations
C. Making Referrals
In some instances, when we offer others our counsel, we find that
an individual's issue or problem requires the assistance of a mental-health
professional. Though making a referral does not obviate the need for pasto-
ral care, it is also important to recognize that appropriate pastoral care
requires us to acknowledge the limits of our competence; for the essential
28 + Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
goal of pastoral care is always what most ensures the "good" of the person.
As noted earlier in our discussion, emotional problems are increasingly a
part of many Americans' lives. Thus, Jesuits who counsel are likely to
periodically encounter individuals needing a referral. As a starting point,
every Jesuit pastoral counselor and spiritual director must know his limits.
An essential question every Jesuit must ask himself is, Do I approach my
counseling session with a sense of humility? "Humility carries with it an
open-mindedness, a willingness to admit mistakes and seek advice, and a
desire to learn." 38 Having an attitude of healthy humility when we counsel
has two dimensions, the first of which is adequate self-knowledge. Thus, for
example, each of us needs to consider whether he possesses the necessary
self-honesty to hold in check a tendency such as compulsive care giving. I
recall a Jesuit once stating in the course of a meeting that he enjoyed
working with people who had relationship problems. What the Jesuit failed
to recognize was that many of his own relationships were in turmoil and
that his own failure to set boundaries led to entangled relationships, compul-
sive care giving, and poor judgment. My sense of this Jesuit was that he
needed his counselees more than they needed him. His need to rescue people
was a way to assuage and distract himself from his own conflicted state.
Others became more and more aware of this, but the Jesuit remained for the
most part oblivious to the consequences of his actions. When the counsel we
offer others originates from our own acutely felt needs, frequently we are
not as self-aware or as alert to the effects of our actions as we might other-
A second dimension of healthy humility involves a twofold recogni-
tion. First, a Jesuit with self-knowledge can recognize the limits of his own
skill level and expertise. Secondly, taking into account both the strengths
and the limitations of his own abilities and training, the Jesuit ought to have
some understanding of the behaviors or emotional states that he should refer
to a mental-health professional. The vagaries, complexities, and diversity of
human actions and internal psychological states being what they are, no list
of behaviors is likely to be exhaustive. Moreover, we should remind our-
selves that people frequently choose to seek our counsel precisely because of
who we are and what we represent— men whose mature pastoral judgments
foster good counsel. As a consequence, we should not be quick to make
referrals or defer to other professionals when people bring us their the
problems or dilemmas. Even so, it would not be amiss here to offer some
short descriptions of behaviors and emotional states that might, in some
38 June Price Tangney, "Humility: Theoretical Perspectives, Empirical Findings,
and Directions for Future Research," Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 19 (Spring
When a Jesuit Counsels Others 4* 29
instances, lead a Jesuit pastoral counselor or spiritual director to consider a
referral to a licensed mental-health professional.
1. Problems with interpersonal relationships. The person consis-
tently displays behaviors that disrupt the development and growth of
healthy interpersonal relationships. Examples of these behaviors include a
history of excessively controlling one's relationships or becoming too
dependent upon others.
2. Deficient interpersonal skills. An individual's behavior demon-
strates significant deficiency in interpersonal skills; this in turn frustrates or
undermines friendship or team endeavors. She fails, for example, to be
sensitive to the feelings of others in discussions, to perceive social situations
accurately, or to anticipate future actions that would promote friendship.
3. Self-esteem issues. Experiences of shame or crippling self-esteem
issues so burden some people that they experience chronic dissatisfaction. A
wide range of behaviors can reflect this distressing state. Examples include
overcompensating, compulsiveness, rigidity, chronic negative self-evaluations,
unresolved and lingering guilt feelings, and crippling inhibitions.
4. Impairing negative mood states. Some mood states (for example,
depression, anxiety) are so disabling that they impede everyday functioning
and derail the pursuit of a happy and productive life. Surprisingly, even with
the wide publicity surrounding various mental-health issues, the majority of
individuals suffering from depression are not being treated; and many fail to
recognize the debilitating nature of their own depression. The paralysis
fueled by anxiety likewise has a stranglehold on many, drowning them in
needless fears and excessive worries.
5. Distorted self-impressions. Some individuals' perceptions of self are
woefully distorted. They harbor unrealistic aspirations, evaluate their abilities
and talents uncritically, and are too preoccupied with their own self-promo-
tion. Such individuals typically display narcissistic aspects or traits: they feel
a sense of entitlement and find it difficult to express genuine empathy
toward or understanding of other people's perspectives.
6. Impulse problems. An increasing number of those coming to us
display impulse problems. Such impulsiveness increases at-risk behaviors that
endanger the risk taker as well as others. Some examples include a history of
sexual acting out, a chronic problem with emotionally explosive outbursts,
or compulsive gambling.
7. Substance abuse. The abuse of and dependence on substances (for
instance, alcohol) create problems for an individual, those he loves, and
society as a whole. The psychological and medical problems associated with
addictions combine to destroy families, friendships, and lives.
30 4* Charles M. Shelton, S J.
8. Diffuse identity and developmental immaturity. Some experience
profound difficulty in constructing a healthy sense of identity. They suffer
ongoing confusion and find their lives drifting with no clear sense of pur-
pose. Such individuals reflect a lack of self-direction and life goals. They shy
away from following through on significant life decisions; frequently they
cannot even make such decisions. Their diffuse identity states lead to behav-
iors that are, developmentally speaking, often immature. These individuals
are often described as "needy" in their relationships and ineffective in
9. Arrested development. Some individuals find persistent difficulty in
letting go of previous hurts, particularly those involving painful family
issues. They lack the psychological wherewithal to resolve lingering hurts
originating from their families and appear to be held hostage by unnegotia-
ted or unresolved issues with parents or siblings. In such individuals, family
gatherings and subsequent interactions frequently trigger emotional upset
and knee-jerk responses. Individuals who fit under this description usually
fail to acquire proper boundary settings with other family members.
In addition to the specific types of behaviors just described, another
way a Jesuit can address the advisability of referral is by reflecting on
another series of questions. To optimize the results obtained from this list, a
Jesuit might take a moment and recall a specific counselee or directee, past
1. As I think about this person can I identify specific behaviors that
cause me concern?
2. Am I able to clarify for myself exactly how I view the problem
adversely influencing this person's capacity to live a happy, healthy,
and whole life? If it is appropriate to do so, am I able to share my
concerns with the counselee or directee?
3. Is the problem getting worse? If so, what observable behaviors or
emotional displays lead me to this conclusion?
4. What resources (for example, social-support networks, positive self-
image) can this person draw upon to counteract the problematic
behaviors or feelings troubling him? A rule of thumb here is that
the fewer resources the individual has, the more likely it is that
problems will surface and prove impairing. 39
39 Usually when considering whether to make a referral, we focus exclusively on
the problems the counselee or directee is having. Though understandable, such an
approach is incomplete. Two people undergoing a similar stressful situation will more than
likely respond differently if one has a number of positive attributes and resources at his or
When a Jesuit Counsels Others •!• 31
5. How much psychological discomfort or distress is this person
6. If they are available, do comments and observations of others
confirm my concerns?
7. If the person does not seek professional consultation, what are my
concerns or fears for this directee or counselee during the next six
months or a year from now? Or, how will she be functioning in six
months or a year from now if no outside consultation is sought?
Sometimes it might prove helpful to pose this question directly to
the counselee, to elicit a response, and then provide feedback to her
answer. If appropriate, I might share my own response to this
8. How is this counselee or directee similar or dissimilar to others I
have counseled over the years whose experiences or problems
present notable resemblances?
9. Has this person experienced and successfully resolved the issues that
impaired his maturity; for example, has he cultivated a firm sense of
identity, a healthy sense of intimacy, acting in ways that suggest the
desire to be generative? Does this person appear to lag seriously
behind his peers in regard to these developmental tasks?
10. If I believe it pastorally prudent to describe a person's behavior (but
not the person's identity) to a Jesuit friend, does his response con-
firm my own impressions and concerns?
Usually no single response to any one question conclusively be-
speaks the need for mental-health consultation. However, if we find our-
selves responding to a number of these questions in ways reflecting growing
concern for a counselee or directee, then we should seriously consider
making a referral.
To conclude, we must point out that referring someone to a mental-
health professional does not mean we abandon the person (though it might
"feel" as if this were the case), nor should referral, to reaffirm what was said
above, diminish the Jesuit's pastoral outreach. We might refer someone and
still see her for spiritual direction or periodically touch base with her
regarding some pastoral matters. The most prudent course is to tailor our
her disposal and the other is lacking such assets. A list of some "assets" might include
healthy relationships, a positive outlook, problem-solving skills, self-insight, financial
resources, time, and good health.
32 * Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
pastoral efforts on a case-by-case basis, our guiding principle always being
what is "best" for the directee or counselee. 40
Anyone reading in the area of pastoral counseling or spiritual
direction inevitably comes upon the word "transference. n Indeed, GC 34,
after specifically affirming the need for boundary setting, states that a Jesuit
should be "aware of the possibility of affective transference and countertrans-
ference, and resistant to confusing such ministerial relationships with those
of intimate friendship. " 41 In view of the specific context of our discussion,
transference might generally be defined as displacing onto a Jesuit counselor
or director feelings or unresolved conflicts that had originally been experi-
enced during one's childhood years. The result is that the person experienc-
ing the transference unconsciously relates to the Jesuit, not as a counselor or
director in the present, but as a stand-in for a significant figure who in the
past aroused conflict, hurt, disappointment, or some other strongly felt
emotion (such as anger). A few examples might be helpful. This counselee
agrees to every suggestion her counselor offers her and develops a depen-
dency upon him. In the presence of this newly perceived authority figure,
she might be reenacting a mode of conduct that she had developed years ago
in relation to her own mother. Another example might be a directee who
responds passive-aggressively to his Jesuit spiritual director just as he did to
his own father.
But, more important for our purposes, a Jesuit might also develop a
transference onto someone he counsels (technically called a countertransfer-
ence). Thus, a spiritual director who holds a self-inflated view of himself
might have his needs met by an all-too-compliant directee as he continues to
use his directee like many others in his life. Or the relationship the Jesuit
develops with a student he counsels, for example, might mask feelings of
fatherhood for this young adult (and he finds himself becoming protective of
the student), or reminds him of his own youth (and he seeks perhaps to
rescue the student), or triggers in him feelings of longing for the younger
brother he never had (and he goes out of his way to be friendly with the
student). In each of these instances, countertransference leads the Jesuit
40 It is beyond the scope of this paper to detail the mechanics of the referral
process. Minimally, however, every spiritual director or pastoral counselor should be
aware of the mental-health resources available in his area and have a list of agencies and
mental-health professionals whom he trusts and feels comfortable with when referring a
directee or counselee.
41 No. 254 (p. 123).
When a Jesuit Counsels Others 4* 33
piritual director or pastoral counselor to respond, not so much to what the
>erson seeking help and guidance requires, but rather to what satisfies the
esuit's unacknowledged motivations and needs. As a consequence, counter-
ransference steers the Jesuit erroneously to conclude that his pastoral care is
lelping someone when in fact his actions are to a significant degree satisfy-
ing his own needs, while possibly having little relevance to the actual
problems being discussed. 42
The above discussion simply points out that we Jesuits, like every-
one else, are human and subject to the mistakes, shortcomings, and problems
which accompany anyone who attempts to care in some way for another
human being. I doubt that we can state unequivocally that we have never
had or never will have a countertransference reaction toward someone we
counsel. Supporting this statement, research into psychotherapy and counsel-
ing views countertransference reactions as a common and potentially disrup-
tive factor that adversely influences the relationship between therapist and
client. 43 I suspect any counsel we give that involves meaningful and ongoing
contact with another person has the potential of triggering a countertransfer-
ence reaction within us. For the Jesuit the key point is to deal honestly and
prudently with it when it does arise in our ministerial relationships and to
employ whatever corrective measures are necessary to resolve it. Finally, we
should keep in mind that although countertransference reactions most
certainly can undermine the counsel we provide, they might also, if handled
and responded to appropriately, aid us toward personal insight, greater self-
knowledge, and interior freedom.
Here are some questions developed to help probe and understand
our own actions and reactions to those we counsel. Again, a personal case-
study approach might be profitable: recall to mind a specific directee or
counselee and apply the following questions to that relationship.
1. When providing counsel to this person, do I behave differently or
have certain feelings that are not typical of what I usually feel when
42 Of course, it is conceivable that a Jesuit's countertransference significantly
helps a counselee or directee, while assuaging the Jesuit's internal needs or conflict. The
two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In such instances, however, the Jesuit needs a
self-awareness that allows for careful and continuing discernment of his motives to ensure
that the good of the counselee or directee predominates. In such situations, a prudent
response also requires the Jesuit to seek input from knowledgeable and competent others.
David C. Mohr, "Negative Outcome in Psychotherapy: A Critical Review,"
Clinical Psychology: Research and Practice 2 (Spring 1995): 14f.
34 * Charles M. Shelton, SJ.
2. Do I find myself thinking excessively about this person in compari-
son to others I counsel?
3. When counseling this person, do I find myself feeling stirred up or
having feelings that make me uncomfortable?
4. Do I find myself having overly positive or negative feelings toward
this person and wondering why I feel so strongly?
5. After this person leaves, do I frequently find myself wondering why
I said this or that?
6. Does this person's manner, physical features, life situation, or
behavior remind me of someone from my earlier life (including
7. Do I find this person easily provoking me for no apparent reason?
If I counsel people on a regular basis and have one or more counsel-
ees or directees about whom I responded positively to a number of the
questions listed above, I might consider the possibility that I have developed
or am developing a countertransference.
Despite what I have just said, I wish to allay excessive and unwar-
ranted scrutiny. Obviously, at times we might be worried and think about a
person for good reason (for example, he is depressed, she is unemployed).
Someone might present a difficult personality whose angry outbursts or
passive-aggressive style drains us psychically. Naturally, we might find
talking with this person uncomfortable and experience ourselves feeling or
responding to him in ways that are untypical. We might even find ourselves
saying things just to conclude a conversation or get the vexatious counselee
to leave our office! Nonetheless, if we find ourselves answering in the
affirmative to several of the above questions, we should pause at least to
consider that a countertransference might have developed. Awareness of
countertransference is vital for ministerial integrity. Failure to be sensitive to
these issues admits the possibility that even though our intentions are noble,
our responses, instead of providing adequate and appropriate pastoral care,
might primarily be a means for meeting our own needs. Sadly, in some
instances, serious harm might ensue if the counselee or directee fails to
receive appropriate counsel.
The following points might alert us to our countertransference
reactions and assist us in dealing with them.
1. Try to make time for the daily examen, as well as some moments
for periodic critical self-reflection.
2. Occasionally take some time to evaluate boundaries and how they
When a Jesuit Counsels Others <b 35
3. Make a point of relying on others, such as a spiritual director and
several close friends, to ensure a periodic "reality check" of personal reac-
tions with the people one counsels.
4. If necessary, consider undergoing personal therapy to help son out
motivating triggers and issues that might generate counter-transferences. If
this statement arouses uncomfortable feelings, recall that the "reason" for
such therapy is not only to gain insight but also to be more apostolically
effective and to uphold one's primary goal in counseling, to help the person
5. When providing pastoral care to others, take the necessary steps to
ensure adequate self-care. Burned-out and needy Jesuits are more prone to
develop countertransference reactions.
I hope that this article's primary purpose has been achieved by this time:
raising our consciousness around issues and concerns that bear directly on
the counsel we provide. Yet even as we foster self-awareness, we should
keep a certain reality in mind. No Jesuit would deny that on this very day a
number of Jesuits' counseling sessions may fail to reach a level of apostolic
effectiveness that those men desired or hoped to achieve. I ask you, however,
to consider another and more telling fact. The total accumulated instances of
a single day's less-than-ideal counsel are insignificant in comparison to the
countless acts of compassionate listening, sound feedback, insightful advice,
and loving challenge that flow directly from Jesuits' good-hearted (and
intended) counsel. In other words, during any twenty-four-hour period the
emotional and spiritual support we offer God's people is as uplifting as it is
significant. On any given day, I suspect, the "difference" our counsel makes
in assisting people to live healthy spiritual and emotional lives is staggering,
and it is a reality that often goes unheralded, even unnoticed. From the
perspective of humility, this is probably as it should be. Yet the failure of
such bountiful goodness to garner attention does not mean that it should be
ignored. Every Jesuit should be rightfully proud of the truly noble and
fruitful apostolic richness that stems from the counsel we give and of the
heritage to which we are contributing. The hope is that what is offered in
these pages will motivate every Jesuit to a renewed commitment to focus
both joyfully and reflectively on his own unique role in sustaining the
Society's reputation as a group of prayerful and discerning men who provide
36 + Charles M. Shelton, S.J.
Finally, though our emphasis has for the most part been on the
individual Jesuit's role as a provider of good counsel, we must repeat that we
are not just men who counsel, but Jesuits who counsel. So we conclude our
remarks with some thoughts on how our counsel relates to the apostolic
mission of the entire Society. Whenever the Society of Jesus, through a
provincial, missions a Jesuit to a specific apostolic assignment, several
assumptions are implicit. For one, the man being sent by virtue of his
integrity is expected to be willing to do his best to advance his new apostolic
mission. At the same time, such missioning is a public statement made by
the Society that the apostolic work to which the Jesuit has been assigned has
ramifications for the wider mission of the Society and can be of benefit for
the People of God. But in the context of the counsel we have discussed
within these pages, another assumption needs stating. When a Jesuit is
missioned, the Society of Jesus, through the man's provincial, declares to
Church authorities, the wider Church community, and society in general
that reasonable efforts (which always operate within the confines of human
frailty and fallibility, and always demand openness and cooperation from the
missioned Jesuit) have been undertaken to assure that the missioned Jesuit
can be trusted with the People of God. It is the Society's desire, even when
confronted with this human frailty, which is always unpredictable, that the
missioned Jesuit's response will be one that prudently and selflessly reflects
gospel values and mature pastoral judgment. This is not to say that the
missioned Jesuit is without faults or ministers flawlessly — such a view is
unrealistic. But it does express the Society's belief and hopes that the mis-
sioned Jesuit, after examining his heart, probing his desires, and confronting
his personal limitations, will strive to respond to others through his
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a manner that attempts, even at heroic
personal sacrifice and costs, if necessary, to maintain and ensure that such
trust is never compromised. At the same time, the Society relies, indeed,
depends upon, the individual Jesuit's open communication with superiors, so
that they can implement whatever interventions or personal steps might be
necessary to foster the man's ability to uphold such trust. 44
44 On a personal and respectful note and in order to make the points offered in
this paragraph of the Conclusion as concrete and practical as possible, I recommend that
every provincial as well as all province consultors and provincial staff members, when
deliberating how best to mission their men, discuss and answer the following questions
prior to every Jesuit's public missioning: (1) Is this man at least adequate for the
assignment to which he has been missioned? (2) Hoping that this man has been open with
his superiors and having taken reasonable steps to assess his suitability (relying, of course,
on the always potentially fallible feedback and input from others), do we believe that this
man can be trusted with the welfare of those he is missioned to serve? (3) Given an
affirmative answer to (1) and (2), yet always recognizing the ever-present potential for
When a Jesuit Counsels Others 4* 37
Moreover, upon reflection, we can conclude that every time a
provincial missions a man, the Society's own integrity is at stake. Or, to
state it from a positive perspective, every time the Jesuit is found trustwor-
thy by those to whom he provides pastoral care, the Society's integrity is
strengthened and its very purpose— the aid of souls in companionship — more
fully realized. Yet, given human frailty and our almost endless capacity for
self-deception, every time a Jesuit is missioned there is always at least a
potential risk that such trust to some degree will be compromised. May this
essay remind every reader that his counsel of others always requires a true
humility that views his own and the Society's integrity as ever fragile and
inextricably linked. Whenever a Jesuit acknowledges and lives with integrity,
in accord with this truth, by his humble stance he reaffirms his conviction
that aiding souls in companionship truly makes for a wonderful life.
human error, can we have the reasonable expectation that he will carry out his ministry
with integrity, striving to the best of his ability to serve the welfare and concerns of those
to whom he is missioned? I certainly acknowledge that the Society goes to great efforts to
implement the above goals. However, at times— our own humanness coupled with very
real factors such as losing focus in discussions, lacking sufficient data, yielding to time
pressures, coping with jammed schedules and shrinking manpower pools, succumbing to
personal or group frailty or self-deception ("group think"), and so on — deliberations
concerning a Jesuit's missioning might not always be what they could be. Thus, I offer the
above questions simply as a way to raise and sharpen awareness among the Society's
leadership of issues and concerns that are essential for the long-term viability of the
Society of Jesus in its corporate presence of service both to the Church and to the
common good of society at large.
NEW! FIRST FULL ENGLISH TRANSLATION
The Spiritual Writings of Pierre Favre
The Memoriale and Selected Letters and Instructions
This is a long-awaited first full English translation from
the definitive critical edition of Favre's works in the
Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu.
A spiritual autobiography is a record of God's dealings
with an individual and the person's response to God. Pierre
Favre's Memoriale is fully in that tradition.
Favre, the person whom Ignatius of Loyola thought the
best director of the Spiritual Exercises, left as a legacy both a
spiritual autobiography/diary traditionally called the Memoriale
and a series of letters and instructions.
The twenty-seven selected letters and instructions range
across time, space and recipients, in time from 1540 to 1546, in
space from almost one end of Western Europe to the other.
The recipients include, among many others, Ignatius Loyola in
Rome and Francis Xavier in India, King John HI of Portugal
and a confraternity of laypersons, and a Carthusian prior in
Cologne and a group setting out on a pilgrimage.
The introduction places Favre's life and work in its
historical setting, discusses the characteristics of spiritual
autobiography, deals with the discernment of spirits in Favre's
work, describes the several versions of the text of the
Memoriale, puts in context the letters and instructions included
in this volume, and tells what happened to the memory of and
devotion to Favre after his death.
xvi -I- 437 pp. Glossary, Indexes
Hardcover: ISBN 1-880810-25-5 / $57.95 plus postage
Paperback: ISBN 1-880810-26-3 / $39.95 plus postage
The Institute of Jesuit Sources
3700 W. Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108
Telephone 314-977-7257 / FAX 314-977-7263
Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits
(For prices, see inside back cover.)
1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969)
1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969)
2/1 Burke, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970)
2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970)
2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970)
3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971)
3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971)
3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of God's Will (Sept. 1971)
3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971)
4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972)
4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972)
4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium
5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan.-Mar. 1973)
5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973)
5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973)
5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973)
6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974)
7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975)
7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975)
7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975)
7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General
Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975)
8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976)
8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty
8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976)
9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations
9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977).
9/5 Gill, A Jesuit's Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977)
10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978)
10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly- Land
11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979)
11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979)
11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979)
11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979)
12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic
Communities (Mar. 1980)
12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980)
12/4-5 Schineller, Newer Approaches to Christology and Their Use in the Spiritual Exercises (Sept. -Nov.
13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981)
13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981)
>, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981)
illey, The Jesuits, St. Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982)
14/2 Dulles, St. Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982)
14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982)
14/5 Ivern, The Future of Faith and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982)
15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (Jan. 1983)
15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Chansms (Mar.
15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the
Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983)
15/5-16/1 Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984)
16/2 O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar.
16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984)
16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984)
16/5 Kinerk, Eliciting Great Desires: Their Place in the Spirituality of the Society of Jesus (Nov. 1984)
17/1 Spohn, St. Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (Jan. 1985)
17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985)
17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985)
17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985)
17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985)
18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986).
18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986)
18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986)
18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986).
19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (Jan. 1987)
19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987)
19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987)
20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius 's Two Standards (Jan. 1988)
20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988)
20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988)
20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988)
20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988)
21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (Jan. 1989)
21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989)
21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989)
22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (Jan. 1990)
22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990)
22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990)
22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feelings, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990)
22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990)
23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled (Jan. 1991)
23/2 DiGiacomo, Ministering to the Young (March 1991)
23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991)
23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991)
23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991)
24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992)
24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992)
24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992)
24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992)
24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992)
25/2 Donahue, What Does the Lord Require? (March 1993)— ONCE AGAIN AVAILABLE
25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993)
25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993)
25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993)
26/1 Tetlow, The Most Postmodern Prayer (Jan. 1994)
26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994)
26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994)
26/4 Foley, Stepping into the River (Sept. 1994)
26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994)
27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995)
27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995)
27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995)
27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995)
27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995)
28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996)
28/2 Veale, Saint Ignatius Speaks about "Ignatian Prayer'' (March 1996)
28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996)
28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996)
28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996)
29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997)
29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997)
29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997)
29/4 Keenan, Are Informationes Ethical? (Sept. 1997)
29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997)
30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi ofLudolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of
Ignatius of Loyola (Jan. 1998)
30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . (or So . . . )?" (March 1998)
30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998)
30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998)
30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998)
31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999)
31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999)
31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999)
31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999)
31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999)
32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000)
32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000)
32/3 Shelton, When a Jesuit Counsels Others (May 2000)
THE INSTITUTE OF JESUIT SOURCES
William A. Barry, S.J.
"Our Way of Proceeding"
General Congregation 34 chose to
keep the Jesuit Constitutions as
Ignatius wrote them, but to indicate in
the text those parts that had been
abrogated, modified, or explained in
the years since the first general congre-
gation approved Ignatius's document.
And thus the authoritative version of
the Constitutions that we now have
includes both the constitutions that
Ignatius wrote, and also a set of com-
plementary norms. Fr. Barry has taken
this authoritative version and from it
selected sections that form a series of
prayerful considerations, lasting over a
period of some seventeen weeks (each
subdivided into six days) and provid-
ing rich and abundant matter for
consideration, discussion, and prayer.
The goal of this book is to give access
to such an interior knowledge of the
characteristic Jesuit manner of acting,
or "way of proceeding," that one will
almost instinctively act in this way.
Paper: ISBN 1-880810-30-1 • $12.95
Series iy n. 19 • pp. vii + 190
Philip Caraman, S.J.
Tibet: The Jesuit Century
Between 1624 and 1721, on five occa-
sions Jesuit explorers made their diffi-
cult and perilous way to Tibet. They
had no experience of others to guide
them, and no maps. They encountered
hardships and dangers that test mod-
ern mountaineers with all their sophis-
ticated equipment. One of their num-
ber, Antonio de Andrade, was the first
European to look down on the plains
of Tibet; two others, Johannes
Grueber and Albert d'Orville, search-
ing for an overland route from China to
India, were the first Europeans to reach
Lhasa. Perhaps the most famous of the
explorers was the Italian Jesuit Ippolito
Desideri, who for five years lived with
the Tibetans and studied their religion,
language, and customs.
Fr. Caraman's book gives the fasci-
nating story of these adventurous
European Jesuit travels across the roof
of the world to meet in peace and
friendship a people yet unknown to
much of that world.
Paper: ISBN 1-880810-29-8 • $14.95
Series IX no. 20 • pp. viii 4- 154
tel 314-977-7257 fax 314-977-7263 e-mail IJS@SLU.EDU
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